Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We're All Counting On You

It is frustrating to watch the Wings in the playoffs.  So many talented players are on the team, and somehow, someway our offense doesn't get production.  I know the intensity is turned up all the way to 11, but even still.  We have a Hall Of Fame Defender and still give up 4 goals to the Doan-less Coyotes.  After the fun and offense of Game 2, Game 3 was absolute garbage.

Howard will get the start in net, but needs to be on a short leash.  He gave up a goal too quickly Game 3, and was out of position consistently.  He looked like the future in the regular season, now he is looking like Manny Legace.  He wasn't helped by the defense with two awful neutral zone turnovers and sloppy puck carrying.  The game was sloppy non Red Wing hockey.  It was there, but only in flashes.  I went away from the game with a bad taste in my mouth.

I believe this is Lidstrom's and Draper's final go at a Cup.  Lidstrom isn't playing at an elite level anymore, and next year he could be a shell of his former self.  Draper just looks old and his skills have eroded.  He can be replaced nicely with Helm.  Luckily, Detroit opted for Abdelkader over Jason Williams (who I won't ever understand why we resigned him) and instantly paid off.

Without their best player, the Coyotes are more vulnerable.  But they have a lot more veteran depth than you think and a Vezina finalist in net.  The Wings need to possess the puck more and get more good shots.  Those shots they take from the side of the net aren't working.  Bryzgalov gives up some big rebounds and the Wings need more people floating around the circles in front of the net.  The Coyotes are being more physical, and the Wings need to knock that off.  They aren't a gritty team, but somebody hit somebody.  If the Wings don't win tonight, then we can start panicking.  But right now we need to keep our championship composure and take Game 4.


  1. This is must-win for Detroit. Do I believe that they could win three-in-a-row, two on the road? Yes. But let's do it in 6 games, not 7 then.

    Nicklas Lidstrom had a terrible game in Game 3. Jimmy Howard let up a stinker that killed the Wings, soon after they got it going with their second goal. And despite scoring it, Johan Franzen has been unacceptably quiet.

    Unfortunately, the way I would fix it would be to attempt to fix something that "ain't broke". The Wings' best line has been Bertuzzi-Zetterberg-Filppula. You saw at the end there, Babcock was trying to tinker, moving Filppula up with Datsyuk and Franzen, and resting Holmstrom, but only really rolling 2 lines.

    Still, I'd love to play with the lines, maybe putting Mule with Z and Cleary, then Fil with Bert and Pav, but must trust that Mike Babcock is far superior than I. Also, Homer is more useful than I take him for.

    Jason Williams is a right-handed shot. The other two are Brian Rafalski and Patrick Eaves. Diversity like that is useful, especially on the power play (Samuelsson? Righty.) But Babcock shut down Williams on his first run a few years ago. It looked like Williams grew up in Columbus, and was willing to sign for cheap, and could have possibly blossomed a little like some other forwards historically have under Babcock...but it looks like he didn't want to do what was required. Then again, Williams is probably a 3rd-liner, and might have been able to contribute...remember, he's been out for most of the year with a leg injury, so he's still probably yet to hit his stride. But going back...where is Danny Cleary? It's stuff like that that shows that maybe the Wings don't have the depth we think they do, if Babcock is only rolling two lines for most of the last 10 minutes in Game 3.

    Two final thoughts: 1. Howard needs to step up, but unless he lets up a few early, he's the man. Ozzie hasn't been great, and probably would say the same.
    2. Howard has let up a beach ball or two, but he won't be the reason for losing. They ARE getting outworked. I disagree that they need to "keep our championship composure". Yes, they've been here before, but they need to WAKE UP and go. They aren't in a situation where they dominated and coasted, like the last two years...they were hot and are squandering it. We saw last year the two hot teams going in went far...Anaheim knocked off the San Jose Chokers, then took the Western Conference Champions to 7 games a series that scared me more than the SCF Game 7 did...and Carolina knocked off the New Jersey Less-Talked-About-Chokers, and were stopped by the eventual Cup winners. We hear it all the time, but the Wings need to play their game, puck possession, and break the trap/full-court press. Your point guard (Lidstrom) needs to move the puck up quickly, then you pound it low and clean up with your forwards (Franzen specifically needing to be the one to step up).

  2. Very good analysis man! I agree wholeheartedly.